Lewis Hamilton has got his world championship challenge back on track after winning the British Grand Prix. Hamilton, who won his home race for the first time since winning it six years ago, finished over 30 seconds clear of second placed man Valtteri Bottas. Daniel Ricciardo finished third after a long stint on the medium compound tyres, fending off a late charge from McLaren’s Jenson Button. Nico Rosberg retired from the race after leading most of it after suffering a problem with his gearbox.
There was drama at the start of the race up and down the grid. Felipe Massa – who is celebrating his 200th Grand Prix start this weekend – struggled to get away until his anti-stall kicked in. Further up the pack Sebastian Vettel lost out to the McLaren duo and Hamilton, while Sergio Perez spun after making contact with a Toro Rosso. The biggest drama came when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen ran wide and, as he was making his way back onto track, hit a bump which sent his car into a spin. He made heavy impact – reported as registering at 47G – with the barrier and collected Massa as he spun across the track. Massa had to try and take evasive action and spun himself, preventing a much bigger accident. Raikkonen got out of the car with assistance from the medical team and was taken to the medical centre for checks. A Ferrari spokesman reported that he had hurt his ankle and was having x-rays as a precaution. As a result of the accident there was a lengthy red flag period while the barrier was repaired.
As a result of the red flag, cars returned to the grid ready to start again behind the safety car. Massa limped round the track with obvious damage to his car which the team tried to fix however he did not make the restart, being forced to retire. Max Chilton entered the pit-lane as the red flags came out, picking up a drive through penalty as a result. When the race got going again – an hour after the original start – everyone got away safely. There was some great racing, with Bottas tearing his way through the pack. Button and Fernando Alonso raced closely with the McLaren driver making his car as wide as possible as Alonso searched for a way past. Later on Alonso then had a spirited battle with Vettel, which led to a lot of angry team-radio messages. The FIA have been clamping down on drivers running their cars with all four wheels behind the white lines and Alonso picked up a number of warnings before being shown the black and white flag. It wasn’t Alonso’s first misdemeanour of the day, however, after he started well over his pit-box on the original start and was given a five second penalty as a result. Vettel eventually passed the Ferrari driver and finished over five seconds clear of him, after a lot of close moments between the pair, with neither wanting to give up.
Elsewhere, Kevin Magnussen held on to the Vettel/Alonso battle and finished a solid seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who had a difficult afternoon in his Force India. Rounding out the top ten were the Toro Rosso duo of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne. Esteban Gutierrez retired after making contact with Pastor Maldonado, causing the Lotus to become airborne. Maldonado later retired with smoke pouring from the back of his car. Marcus Ericsson retired with front suspension damage.
As a result of the race, Hamilton has now moved back to within four points of his team-mate. The next race is Rosberg’s home race – the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.